Southeastern Boulder County had one brewery until this week; by fall, it will have eight
Boulder is the cradle of craft brewing in Colorado, and nearby Longmont is home to two of the biggest breweries in the state, but until recently, southeastern Boulder County was primarily known only as the former headquarters for the Rock Bottom chain.
By this fall, however, there will be eight breweries in the area: three in Louisville, three in Lafayette and two in Erie, which is actually split between Boulder and Weld counties.
Gravity Brewing was the first to open for business; founded by John Frazee, Ryan Bowers and Julius Hummer, it started pouring in August 2012.
"I lived in Boulder for a long time before I moved to Louisville, and when I got here, I saw a real opportunity, so I went for it," says Frazee, who reached his ten-barrel system's capacity recently and added two new fermenters to keep up.
But Frazee has mixed feelings about the thought of being joined by seven other nearby breweries in rapid succession, including two more in Louisville: Crystal Springs and Twelve Degree Brewing, which just opened today.
"It is a concern. There is room for a few more, but hopefully not too many more," he says. "But at the same time, looking on the bright side, it will bring more craft beer drinkers to the area as a destination. People already know to go to Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins for craft beer, and now there will be a handful of breweries right here that will bring more of a regional draw rather than just a local draw."
Keep reading to see short profiles of all the new breweries in the works:
820 Main Street, Louisville
After many stops and starts, the owner of Twelve Degree Brewing, Jon Howland, secured a spot in a 120-year-old building that ironically housed Louisville's Temperance Hall during Prohibition. The brewery, located in a central location on Main Street, opened its doors on June 26, and will hold a grand opening on Saturday. It specializes in brewing Belgian-style beers like saisons, which are Howland's favorite.
400 West South Boulder Road, Suite 1650, Lafayette
Chris Dutton and Will Boggs both worked in the software industry before deciding to open their own brewery in Lafayette. The two plan to brew beers that they call "continental with a twist of Americana." Most will be German- or Belgian-based styles or else American beers with Belgian or German twists. Located in a 2,000-square-foot space, Front Range hopes to open by July.
657 South Taylor Avenue, Louisville
Tom Horst didn't expect his beers to do so well when he started a tiny commercial brewery three years ago in the Sunshine Canyon section of Boulder. But Crystal Springs, named for Boulder's original Crystal Springs Brewing and Ice Company (founded in 1875) "has taken on a life of it's own," he says, which is why Horst will move his operation to a building in Louisville where he can run a taproom for the first time, add a few new fermenters and upgrade his two-barrel brewing system. Crystal Springs, which cans and bottles all of its beers, plans to open sometime in late summer. "We can't wait to meet the people who drink our beer," Horst says. The 1,200-square-foot taproom will have thirteen taps offering a variety of beer styles.
301 East Simpson Avenue, Lafayette
Owned by Ryan and Kristin Scott, who moved to Colorado in 2010, Odd13 Brewing will have a ten-barrel brewing system and taproom for its Belgian and American styled beers, like Only a Smile, a 4.5 percent ABV petite saison. The Scotts, who hope to be open by the end of July, have a superhero theme to their beers, classifying them in three categories: the heroic Odd Squad beers, "a group of of heroes that protect your taste buds year-round from the assault of every day beer"; the villainous Legion of Odd beers, which "threaten the peace and prosperity..by taking over your glass with seductive flavors and enticing aromas"; and the Sidekicks, who "rarely show up, but when they do...they defy categorization, definition, classification, characterization."
600/620 Briggs Street, Erie
The owners of Echo Brewing, which celebrated its first anniversary in Frederick in April, have decided to straddle I-25 and open a second brewery, Echo Brewing Cask and Barrel, in Old Town Erie; but the spot, owned by Dennis and Daniel Richards, will also serve as a jumping-off point for Atom Brewing -- owner Jeff Porn plans to open his own location for Atom down the road in Erie. In the meantime, Echo will contract-brew beers for Atom and serve them at its current location, and eventually at the new one as well.
Location is TBA
Jeff Porn and his wife Christina have been planning to open a brewery in Erie for years, but things began heating up recently when the pair decided to start brewing at Echo, either with a contract arrangement or a joint operating agreement. They'll brew at one or both of Echo's locations, but in the meantime, they're looking for a permanent location for Atom.
105 West Emma Street, Lafayette
The Big Red F Restaurant Group, which runs four Jax Fish Houses, Lola, Zolo Grill, Centro Latin Kitchen, the West End Tavern and Bitter Bar, plans to open the Post Brewing Company, a brewpub and chicken joint, in a former VFW post in Lafayette this November. And the company scored a major coup earlier this year by hiring former Dogfish Head brewmaster Bryan Selders to build and run it. Selders says he will start by brewing a few core beers on a fifteen-barrel system, including Top Rope, a Mexican-style lager that Big Red F developed three years ago as a house beer. Once those are dialed in, Selders plans to experiment with other styles to pair with the food.
A version of this story originally appeared in Cafe Bites, our weekly electronic newsletter devoted to Denver's drinking and dining scene. Find out how to subscribe to Cafe Bites here.
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